Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mass Effect

I recently came across a blog called Darkside Creations where blogger Jonty creates some terrifically imaginative papier mache projects. He's also wonderfully giving by sharing a lot of the methods he uses and his projects and tutorials are particularly helpful for the frugal haunter (and artist) in all of us (make that me).

One tutorial in particular is going to help me with the fireplace surround I previously mentioned I was going to build for Halloween. Because of the large number of skulls I'm going to need for the surround, his replication method will allow me to churn out far more than I was going to be able to before.

Using aluminum foil and masking tape, Jonty is able to churn out large numbers of skulls in a short amount of time. Since he'll be adding greater detail to the skull face later, his method gives you the basic shape in a short amount of time. Part 2 can be seen here. He also recommends using a simple balloon to fill out the rest of the skull face.

I think I might be able to take this one step further though by combining Jonty's skull face replication method with Stolloween's new cardboard skull armature.

The great Stolloween posted a new method of creating his distinctive skulls that's also relatively fast and inexpensive (he says the expressive masks cost all of about $0.50 to make). His facial details are his alone and I don't recommend copying them (no matter how cool they are), but the use of simple cardboard strips to define the back of the skull does make the process of building the rest of the skull a simple matter.

Thus, using Jonty's facial replication method with Stolloween's cardboard armature structure seems like it will give me a very fast and economical (er, cheap) means of making the large number of skulls I'll need.

I'd also like to mention a youtube video Jonty posted for making a quick and easy ball-and socket joint. The beauty of this simple joint means that it just might be possible to pose skeletons in any number of positions. You'll be able to use the same prop in different scenes year after year.

There might be some issues with keeping the integrity of the joint intact if it's used outside in the elements, but I would think with proper sealants and coatings it should last just as long as the rest of the prop. Certainly it's worth trying and I'll be using it in the hanging corpses I have planned for my new side yard haunt.

That's the one thing I've found out about the haunt community is that everyone is quite willing to freely share their knowledge with others. Giving back seems like a great way to repay their efforts.



  1. Wow nice review thank you very much.

  2. Terrific stuff you've given, Jonty! Already popped a few skulls out but could have done more if I wasn't so damn lazy. Actually I'm trying to pace myself because the technique is really so quick and simple I could be overwhelmed by an avalanche of skulls if I'm not careful. Now I gotta get me a couple of plastic balls...

    Thanks again!



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